The Deaf Community, those that are born deaf or become deaf before they learn to speak or learn basic vocabulary, usually before the age of 3, usually consider that they are not disabled.
They know that they can’t hear, but they also know that they can do anything any other person can do except hear. They believe it is okay to be Deaf, and that there is no need to “fix” their ears.
Hearing loss is not an issue with them; being deaf is just a part of who they are. They do not identify themselves by what they hear and do not hear.
Persons who are deaf in this category are usually considered to be “culturally” deaf in that they usually feel more at “home” with other people who speak their same language, which is American Sign Language (ASL).
There are two terms that have evolved since the early 1990s in Deaf culture. One is deaf, and the other is Deaf.
The term “deaf” refers to the condition indicating that the ear does not respond to sound as it does with a hearing person.
The term “Deaf” refers to the cultural definition indicating that Deaf people are a cultural, linguistic minority group of people with their own rich set of values, history and language.
They have a strong sense of community, are extraordinarily proud of their ASL and its history, have developed their Deaf culture from the state residential schools and/or colleges.
They were often educated primarily by dedicated teachers of the deaf, many of whom were deaf themselves and served as role models.
Most culturally deaf people continue to support Deaf issues today through National Association of the Deaf (NAD) or other culturally deaf consumer organizations.